Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten tips for culturally aware children

Ten Tips for Culturally Aware Children

Many children start to show an interest in different cultures at a young age, whether  through ethnic food, friends at school, unique clothes, or hearing a foreign language spoken for the first time. Here are 10 ways to encourage your child’s curiosity and teach them about a variety of cultures in fun and interactive ways. 

1.     Read bedtime stories that take place in another country or include some foreign words, so you can practice pronunciation.
2.     Host an international au pair. You can use matching agencies like AuPairCare, which have au pairs from more than 40 countries.
3.     Enroll your child in a cultural dance or martial arts class, such as Bollywood, Flamenco or Capoeira.
4.     Enroll your child in foreign language classes for kids, such as Lango. 
5.     Plan art activities for your child based on different cultures such as Japanese calligraphy, Chinese paper cut outs, and Puerto Rican Ponce Carnival Masks.
6.     Cook and try new foods inspired by other cultures with your children, or enroll them in cooking classes like Cooking Up Culture.
7.     Plan a heritage party for your children and their friends, and encourage each child to bring food and games from their family’s heritage.
8.     Watch family-friendly movies that take place in another country.
9.     Listen to popular music from different cultures while in the car, or teach your kids a simple song in a foreign language.
10.  Attend local festivals and parades that celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo, Carnival, Chinese New Year, and Bastille Day.

“Children are little sponges, taking in the world around them with eagle eyes and curious minds,” said Heidi Woehl, vice president of AuPairCare and a mother of five. “This curiosity is a great thing and should be cultivated through as many avenues as possible, in an effort to raise a globally and culturally aware next generation.”

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